Bodily injury may be referenced in criminal court cases, referring to injuries sustained by someone who has been the victim of an assault or another crime. Personal injury is commonly referenced in civil court claims and covers all costs incurred as the result of an accident or wrongful death.
The difference between bodily injury and personal injury is where you might encounter each one in a legal context. Each type of case may present different standards for liability and proof. The individual state where an accident takes place can have different implications for these terms.
Bodily Injury Insurance Covers the Other Party’s Expenses
Bodily injury refers to specific kinds of harm done to the body after an incident, such as bruises, burns, cuts, fractured bones, and nerve damage. When someone carries bodily injury insurance, it covers the costs of the other person involved in the accident.
For example, if you run a red light and strike a bicyclist, you may be held at fault for their injuries. Depending on your policy, bodily injury insurance may include all or some of their losses.
Legal Implications of Bodily Injury Coverage
Depending on where you live, whether your state is a “fault” or “no-fault” state will determine the extent of what kind of insurance you need to carry in the event of an accident.
For example, in Florida, drivers are not required to carry insurance coverage for bodily injury liability (BIL) except vehicles registered as taxis. However, because Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, all drivers must have insurance policies with a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage.
After an accident, you will first file for damages through your own insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. You may have additional costs that go beyond what your PIP policy can cover. Having PIP does not prevent you from pursuing additional losses through the other party’s insurance.
Typically, it boils down to this: bodily liability insurance covers the damages of the other party if you were the cause of their accident. PIP is for covering your own injuries and losses after an accident. Again, depending on where you live, different factors may affect these definitions.
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Personal Injury Is Related to Civil Claim Damages
All states allow accident victims to pursue compensation from the liable party to cover the cost of their damages. To do this, you must prove that because of this otherwise avoidable situation, you have incurred expenses.
It is important to have relevant evidence that supports your account of events. To prepare for your claim, you will want to keep the following:
- Photographs or any videos of the accident
- The police report or any other law enforcement documents
- Medical records from injury-related examinations
- Proof of lost wages for any work missed after the accident
- Records of all communications between yourself and the insurance companies
- Receipts assigning a value to property damage
What Is Included in a Bodily Injury Claim?
A claim for bodily injury will include any expenses from your injuries that you’d submit to your bodily injury insurance carrier. Depending on your state’s laws, this may include costs related to your own injuries or costs related to the injuries of any other parties involved in the accident. These claims may be covered by your PIP insurance or other coverage.
What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Case?
Anytime one party is injured or becomes ill as a result of another party’s negligence and there are demonstrable damages, you may have a valid personal injury case. People and entities have a duty to prevent others from harm. Personal injury lawsuits come about when this duty has not been met and someone is harmed as a result.
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Statute of Limitations After an Accident
You do not have an unlimited window of time to pursue a civil claim. If you live in Florida, you have four years from the date of your accident to get a personal injury lawyer and file a lawsuit. However, if you live in Tennessee, you only have one year to seek financial recovery.
If the accident results in fatalities, the timeline may be different. Under the Florida statutes, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years. These cases can be complex, so the sooner you reach out to a wrongful death attorney, the better.
Some variables, including the ages of who was involved in your accident, may affect this timeline. In general, the statute of limitations begins on the day of your accident or the day your injuries were discovered. However, there are exceptions. You can ask your attorney about the laws in your state.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim Can Cover Some of Your Losses
If you are injured in an accident and endure pain and suffering as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may have a personal injury case.
When looking to cover the cost of your losses, filing a personal injury claim may include:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
When you are dealing with the aftermath of an accident, an insurance adjuster will prepare, file, and adjust your claim. This person represents the insurance company by evaluating the cost of the damage to your property and health. You may find that the amount they offer does not fully cover the extent of your losses.
Do not feel obligated to settle for the adjuster’s first offer. Before you agree to accept any settlement, make sure that you understand your legal options first. For this reason, many people choose to contract legal help.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC After a Bodily or Personal Injury
If you experienced injuries during an accident, you should not have to endure any additional pain and suffering. You and your family should not have to pay out-of-pocket for an accident that you did not cause.
The lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can examine the evidence relevant to your case, initiate legal action, and protect your rights. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning that we do not accept any payment unless we secure compensation for you. Our team is happy to answer your questions about bodily and personal injury as it applies to the law.